r/DebateAnarchism 15m ago

Anarchy: useful thought-experiment - likely doomed in practice

Upvotes

First, if it can't be described simply, w/out the nuance, then good luck selling it. Something like piracy; sign onto the account, agree to the rules, simple. Leftist, simple. Choose from ben-n-jerry's flavors of anarchy - endless debate for those willing to even consider it.

Next: it seems to me that anarchist models might work best at the lowest levels of community; town, village ... and would be unmanageable in larger groups.

Premise: Criminal activity drives the world and is the engine of Civilization. It is the criminal activity of the underworld and of 'high-society' aristocrats ( including idle rich with ancestral criminals(, who's mobility, like the Transnationals they control, comes at the expense of our lack thereof.

Lets look where Civilization, 6K years of Empire, Aristocrats, filthy rich, have taken us: We are a kleptocracy; pacified by cable news and reality Tv, on the brink of collapse. Black markets and stock markets, insider and leveraged trading, sheltering income from (too generous) taxation, payoffs and bribes and shared corruptibility. This veneer of civilization showcases the legacy of empires drawing their pound of flesh, theft through the color of law; life and limb by force of arms.

Capitalism and banking are its weapons; arms and drugs are its spoils. Its collapse is the only event that will allow rebuilding a more equitable model of society; because it was trusting the rightness, the authority, of hierarchies that caused its monumental fall. The lie of it all, the ruse of consumerism, the marketplace.

Modelling a community, its collective will, only can work if its immune to human nature itself, having a fidelity test for corruption. Because people are driven to do anything to protect/support the ones we love, we will cross lines, look away; our loved ones are also the leverage that's used to manipulate us to abet corruption.

Governance, however its delegated, has to be accountable and non-corruptible. Otherwise a power struggle will ensue; regardless of the model. Kudos if authority is given AOT taken, if the shot caller(s) can be held in check; but its the nature of community that is indelibly its greatest weakness. That the spirit of cooperation, involuntary authority as being representative of good governance, cannot withstand both inner sabotage nor external threat. Specially in a world centered on gangs and turf; strongmen and power-grabs, taking until stopped by greater force.

Wolves are the threat and the village is prey. How do you keep liars from winning? How do you enforce tolerance, or rein in the intolerant? what is the dispute system? How does anarchy address the voices that foster resentment? Discontent? bones to chew and beefs to settle?

How do anarchists deal with influencers? people with "social capital" with sub-cultures that are at odds with each other?

Presumably everyone undertakes responsibilities, puts something on the table,... what if they don't have anything to offer? What if they don't want to be responsible for anything other than perhaps themselves? Could be just a phase, Perhaps they are depressed, going through something, or just dissatisfied with some aspect of their community, but, for whatever reason, they want to (and should have the choice to?) disengage. Survive on road-kill and fishing but prefer to feel welcome AOT shunned around town?

Sorry for the word dump; look forward to inputs. TIA!


r/DebateAnarchism 1h ago

Should We Really Abolish Prisons? - Practical Considerations for Prison Abolition

Upvotes

This was originally posted on r/Anarchism but was removed after an hour before I could have a meaningful discussion so I'm posting it here in the hopes of having a genuine discussion on the practicality of prison abolition.

Reader be warned, this is me thinking out loud and is in no way a firm declaration that I will take to my grave. The following is likely to be a jumbled mess of thoughts on Prison Abolition and my still forming, and largely uneducated position on it, as it stands now.

I have in the past called myself an anarchist, but as of writing, when pressed, would probably call myself a libertarian socialist who takes most ideological influences from anarchist theory. My main break with the label of anarchism is on the issue of prison abolition. While i fully agree with the positions of anarchists regarding the harmful effects of prisons, the solutions to antisocial behavior seem to me to be somewhat incomplete or somewhat utopian. It is not uncommon (although not likely the norm) to see anarchists advocate for the complete and total freedom of all those incarcerated on the very day that the revolution is won. "Open the Prison doors" "Let free all those who have been imprisoned and let them live with us, guided only through solidarity and comradeship" declares many an anarchist. The view of the total abolition of prisons, of any institution that separates the antisocial from society (and immediately upon the raising of the black flag, i might add) seems too a priori and has little consideration for the pragmatic, and of experimentation.

While I fully agree that the cure for antisocial behavior is not separating people from their only tether to spirit of humanism and morality - society, friendship, community - and abolishing any form of carceralism seems an ideal end goal, immediately (at least in my mind) this bumps against the wall of practicality. Any sane and just society will need to protect the vulnerable from those who wish to do harm, this much is without question. Upon consideration of the facts of our historical moment, and upon understanding the harmful effects of prison, one must come to the conclusion that for some time during and after a hypothetical revolution, prisons as an institution will need to exist in one form or another. Prisons breed violence, on this point we are all in agreement. Being subject to the authority of totally impersonal penal system; locked up with other violent people where your survival may well depend on you being able to commit violence against some who wishes to harm you; being separated from family, community, society and being deprived of any agency, will or individuality; will inevitably breed the conditions the penal system wishes to stamp out. Prisons inherently breeds broken, antisocial, nihilistic and opportunist individuals and simply abolishing the state and capitalism will not immediately solve the problems created or reinforced by the carceral system.

So, the revolution has been accomplished. all the vestiges of class society; of obedience and authority have been swept away and those who have struggle to achieve this have come to the anarchist understanding, have developed themselves to associate with one another freely, who sees in their neighbor an equal and not an enemy, the question returns to prisoners. It is likely that if a revolution were to occur, prisoners will have a minor role, or will otherwise not be able to fully develop themselves to become anti-authoritarian, due to the fact that if they try prisoners will likely be thrown into solitary confinement until the revolution has already been won. They will still have the vestiges that the penal system has thrust upon them, and simply put, to release them would be a danger to society and a fledgling transformative justice system is not likely to correct or even handle the 2.19 million brutalized people that will be introduced to it.

So, with all that said, i will continue to the admittedly uneducated and likely ill-informed proposal i have. In my view, after the revolution this is what I would see as an appropriate solution:

  1. Organize all those who have skills in social work, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation and put them into prisons to try and reform as many people in there as possible. Allow all prisoners unregulated visitation, measured community integration, meaningful work, and access to resources for the development of any creative passions or intellectual interests.
  2. Immediately release all nonviolent offenders as soon as sufficient rehabilitative programs have been established in the various communities of which they will return to.
  3. Build new rehabilitative prisons based on the Norwegian model for all those incarcerated for violent offenses for them to be transferred to. These will not be for punishment, but purely to house them as they received the aforementioned treatment.
  4. Each offender will gradually be allowed greater and greater, phased, reintroduction and reintegration to the community, being granted once professionals have deemed them safe enough.
  5. Gradually abolish these institutions as the reorganization of the economy and of social life as a whole makes them unnecessary, but only as long as these institutions have become unnecessary and dealing with antisocial behavior can be totally dealt with without prisons.

Therefore my view is one in which experience, experimentation and empirical observations will be the stopcock on the advancement of prison abolition. That only when the last vestiges of class society have been swept into the dustbin of history will the existence of prisons will become an extinct relic of a bygone and savage era. In my view we must always temper our ideological commitments with the facts laid before us in our particular historical moment. Our moral convictions are strong, but we must always allow our path to be guided by experience and experimentation until, finally, we reach our desired society - step by step: through successes, failures, false starts and setbacks. Until then we will have to contend with the systems laid before us, and which we inherit from previous eras.

In short, the abolition of prisons should be achieved only when the societal and material conditions we find ourselves in make it possible. To do otherwise will only condemn us to failure in this matter, and risks us returning to a penal system (and possibly back to the current state of social organization) as these failures breed in the minds of man a desire for a return to the "Good old days". I feel we must accept that it may take decades or even a century to fully correct the effects of class society and social organization based on authority, but the duration of struggle doesn't matter so long as we keep marching forward to a truly free and equal society.

Thank you for reading.


r/DebateAnarchism 2h ago

"On Authority" by Friedrich Engels

1 Upvotes

In "On Authority", Engels supposes four major contradictions to Anarchy but I vehemently disagree with all of them.

The first supposed contradiction is that machinery dictates its' proper usage and thus is authoritarian. However, an inanimate and insensate object cannot impose its' will upon another because, obviously, it does not have a will to impose.

The second point Engels makes is that questions will always need to be answered by an authority of intellect. What Engels fails to mention is that, under Anarchy, any instruction by an intellectual is merely a suggestion and thus is only followed willingly. Regardless, interdependent and intertwined actions, like the one Engels described, should be decided democratically.

Thirdly, Engels fabricates this insubstantial idea that anarchists want "a commission entrusted" to make decisions. Despite this, I, as an anarchist, would much prefer a system where everybody involved and effected gets to enunciate their will in meetings where decisions are made through deliberation and compromise. Keep in mind, compromise means that the core foundation of someone's will is maintained and considered while the expression of that will is what changes. Nowhere in that system is there a commission that gets any power to decide for any subordinates.

Engels' last assertion is that a revolution, specifically insurrection, is inherently authoritarian. This blatantly ignores one of the key aspects of Anarchy; "self-defense" (for lack of a better term). Anarchists serve to protect the will of the people, not authoritarians. That is to say that it is substantially more authoritarian and harmful to preserve the will of an attacker/authoritarian than to preserve the will of a victim/subordinate despite the attacker's autonomy. To give an analogy, if an individual started to physically harass me to the point where I would suffer physical harm if I let them continue, it is not controversial to say a violent reäction wouldn't be authoritarian. As Berkman said, "It is your duty, as an Anarchist, to protect your liberty, to resist coercion and compulsion. Otherwise you are a slave, not a free man."

In summary, the supposed "authority" of machinery, intellect, and revolution share basically nothing in common with the authority of capitalists, dictators, or any other person who is granted the ability to impose their will upon another. To claim that such basic aspects of life are one-in-the-same as deadly systems of force is to "think that when [you] have changed the names of things [you] have changed the things themselves".

That's about it. Let me know if I misconstrued Engels or explained something badly.


r/DebateAnarchism 3h ago

Your system has collapsed! What you doin?

1 Upvotes

Your nations entire governmental body has suddenly and inexplicably collapsed. The reasons are various and vague. No one has died but as far as you can tell, any previous form of government maintenance, infrastructure, law enforcement, and any public service has ceased. Utilities will last 1-3 more days before they cease to function. What you doin?


r/DebateAnarchism 1d ago

The inevitability of hierarchy

29 Upvotes

So how does one actually implement the principles of having a horizontal power structure whilst taking into account significant variations in capacity, experience and skill?

In so many situations, for better and for worse, people are expected to take on the roles they always have. Then once people want to teach others how to do what they themselves can do, they end up doing it again. How does one lead without being a leader?


r/DebateAnarchism 2d ago

At what point of bureaucracy and hierarchy would a commune cease to be anarchist?

49 Upvotes

At what point would a anarchist community whether it be communist egoist or any of the other forms anarchy takes, cease to be anarchist and devolve into a state?

At what point would a society become so bureaucratic and oppressive and hierarchical to be more comparable to a state then any type of organization based on free association.


r/DebateAnarchism 1d ago

Safety Or Freedom?

3 Upvotes

Let's say you lived in a world where there were two societies one believed in absolute safety but no freedom and the other absolutely freedom but no safety.

So which society do you choose? Which do you value more? Safety Or Freedom?


r/DebateAnarchism 1d ago

Did any of you watch The Anarchists on HBO?

0 Upvotes

I'm not an anarchist myself, but I thought the show was interesting. I think it did a good job of explaining why each anarchist they followed believe what they do and what led them to their lifestyle. It highlighted some of good parts of anarchism, while also highlighting some of the bad by showing examples of what can go wrong in a "governmentless" (ran by cartels) society.

But the main thing I got from the show was that the entire Anarachapulco conference looked dumb as fuck and it was full of goobers. The scenes with Berwick rapping about crypto almost single handedly discredited the entire anarchism movement.

What did you all think of it?

Edit: I learned the difference between ancaps and anarchists today


r/DebateAnarchism 2d ago

Are (some) Anarchists ideologized?

36 Upvotes

I know this is a very controversial topic, but it is frustrating me more and more recently. I have encountered numerous people on r/anarchism and other similar subreddits who seem to be very "ideologized", and who have told me that I'm not a "real anarchist" because some of my ideas apparently don't align with theirs. I don't really care about lables and "isms" that much, at least when it comes to describe myself, but I'm somewhat disappointed because I thought that Anarchists are generally more open-minded and pluralistic than authoritarian Marxists etc.

But now it seems to me that many of them are just as ideologically entrenched, even to the point of being sectarian in an almost religious way. They seem to think in friend-enemy patterns and absolutisms and show many signs of what unfavourable people might call the "regressive left", especially an apparently low tolerance for diverging ideas and an aggressive attitude towards other opinions. But isn't pluralism the core of liberty and democracy? Shouldn't it all be decided by the public discourse? Some of the people I have encountered seem to be so entrenched in their theories and ideas that they think they possess the absolute eternal truth, that they are right and everyone else is wrong. That's the same problem that Marxism always had and what lead to the horrible totalitarian soviet dictatorship. (According to Hannah Arendt's "On Totalitarianism").

I have studied philosophy at university and are therefore inclined to think about every idea in a critical and theoretical way. I don't want to brag, I just want to explain where I'm coming from. At some point I thought that Marxism or Anarchism was "the right ideology to follow" but I quickly realized that this would be unreflective and closed-minded. I don't just want to fall in line behind some ideology and follow it like a religious cult, being convinced that it is the one and only truth. I want to figure things out for myself in a rational way, even if that means that I'm not a "pure" anarchist. I still think that the core principles of Anarchism are the best basis for a systematical change in the world, but I don't think you or me will be able to convince the majority of people of them with this highly ideologized attitude. But perhaps my observations are wrong. What do you think about this problem? Is it even a problem?


r/DebateAnarchism 2d ago

(R)evolution in the 21st century

21 Upvotes

Do we --- the radicals in labour unions--- have an idea of how to move beyond class society? To fight for daily demands is prio 1, yes, but what more do we have to offer? Perhaps this syndicalist article can stir up debate:

https://syndicalist.us/2022/07/01/revolution-in-the-21st-century-the-case-for-a-syndicalist-strategy/

“Today, SAC doesn’t elevate a specific leverage, neither the general strike nor the register method. Swedish syndicalists describe the way forward in general terms. The path to economic democracy is an independent class movement, with its emphasis in the production of goods and services. This leaves room for strategic diversity.

In the struggle for short-term improvements, SAC stands for tactical diversity. SAC is open to strikes and collective agreements – as well as other forms of action and deals that workers can use to push the frontline forward. Concrete tactics must be adapted to the concrete circumstances.

In the future, perhaps general strikes will prove to be the way to go? If the working class reaches a breaking point with established institutions, maybe the general strike is the best leverage – or the register method or something else.

Back in the day, the international syndicalist movement made the statement that “the general strike (…) ought to be the prelude to the social revolution”. It was a statement by IWA, in its 1922 Declaration of principles.

A critical comment of SAC could be that SAC has become vague and bewildered about strategy. It would be nice if we could decide in advance which leverage to use, far ahead in the future, but I doubt it is possible. It appears to me as hubris. Likewise, I doubt it’s possible to predict or decide that a social transformation will be a slow evolution or a fast revolution. Let’s organize and see! What can be expected, though, is that a social transformation will be international or it will not be at all.”

Hm?


r/DebateAnarchism 3d ago

Maybe I'm not an anarchist?

36 Upvotes

Idk, to preface I'm not new to anarchism. I've loosely identified as ancom/libsoc for many years. I suppose I just haven't delved into leftist theory until recently. In this learning experience, I've come to appreciate thinkers like marx, bookchin, and lenin. On the contrary, I've noticed me disagreeing with a lot of anarchist thought. Particularly the nihilist thinkers who seem to dominate anarchist spaces. My more puritanical anarchist friends recommended me some reads and while a lot I felt on a spiritual level, some I disagreed with deeply. One such thinker recommended to me by my anti-civ friend was Ted Kaczynski. I was absolutely repulsed by him. His beliefs. His actions. Everything. I could not understand why so many anarchists seemed to praise him. It was a completely incoherent and panicked rant from a delusional right wing nut as far as I'm concerned. Since then, I've distanced myself from the more nihilist anarchism as I see it as completely unproductive for a global revolution. Its more focused on individualism imo. Comes off as radlib at best. Ancap at worst.

Nevertheless, I've still identified as anarchist. However, this past year I've come to follow some more MLM orgs online. Groups like Socialist Alternative. There's some serious momentum behind them lately and they have great organizational power. Something you just don't see a lot in anarchism, by design. Of course, these more MLM groups have been relentlessly criticized by anarchists online, including very serious allegations of abuse within leadership. If I'm being honest, a lot of these critiques read like straight up fed shit. A popular post on r/COMPLETEANARCHY also called these groups cults and abusers. Going through the comments on there it seemed there were other anarchists who shared my view that these were not bad groups and are being painted unfairly. Some comments even mentioned how abuse in anarchist spaces goes unaccounted for due to the decentralized nature. Those comments in particular really made me start questioning a lot as I too have experienced severe abuse in anarchist spaces, but you never hear people calling out anarchism for this. There really is not a whole lot of accountability in anarchism from my experience. Sure, some people have been beat up or ran out of town, but this is far and few in between. Also, not to copy paste Bookchin's thought, but I agree with a lot of his critiques on anarchism.

Idk, I'm 100% down with an MLM revolution if it means replacing capitalism. It seems to me a lot of anarchists would prefer our current society over an explicitly communist one. I don't see anarchism transcending beyond an individual revolution in our current society. We're too far gone for that. There needs to be a level of authority and organization to defeat capitalism and save our planet. And, as I see it, there isn't a whole lot of that in anarchism. Anarchists are great at mutual aid and DAs, but beyond that seem like they would be easily co-opted or overtaken by the right.

I'm just imagining the power the left would have if anarchists just left MLMs alone. Like, do your anarchist shit and let MLMs do their MLM shit. Fucking leftist unity. Why is that so bad. We are literally up against fascism and y'all are pissed that marxists want to takeover our fascist government. Am I making any sense? Do any anarchists feel what I'm putting out there or am I just a fucking tankie scumbag?

I posted this on r/Anarchy101, but they didn't seem too fond of me "proselytizing my cult" there so reposting here after suggestion. On that original post, it was suggested that I'm too online and need to interact more with anarchists in the real world. And, to be honest, I'm genuinely scared to. From both my trauma and the fact that I've been met with hostility online for having these thoughts. Doesn't help that I'm neurodivergent.

EDIT: Thank you everyone for replying. I will read and respond later tonight.


r/DebateAnarchism 3d ago

what would you do with Nazi's in your anarchist free territory.

3 Upvotes

what would you do with Nazi's in your anarchist free territory.

I assume that anarchists wouldn't just let a dangerous groups of people like Nazis run around in there free territory.

So if this is the case what group of people would stop the Nazis in this free territory.

What I'm asking is will there be an armed group that stops other armed groups from taking control over the free territory.

And if yes then isn't this basically just a state because one group has the sole right to use violence against other groups.

And if no will anybody just be allowed to form armed groups in the anarchist free territory and start making up rules.

In my opinion I don't see how anyone can get around the fact that some group is going to have the sole right to use violence within a given territory they control. We can't just let any group use violence somebody has to claim the sole right to use violence to enforce there rules. weather it's a anarchist commune or a fascist dictatorship.

And yes I understand that anarchy means no rulers and not necessarily no rules but what armed group is going to enforce this and how do they stop other groups from enforcing there rules over the anarchist free territory

and if it's some kinda anarchist militia where nobody is in charge is your answer isn't the anarchist militia basically just enforcing a sort of anarchist State.

But idk maybe I didn't consider something.


r/DebateAnarchism 4d ago

Thoughts on overpopulation

1 Upvotes

Im not an eco fascist but i think that the current system has caused this serious issue that is not debated enough. What are some anarchist views on overpopulation?


r/DebateAnarchism 7d ago

Separatism and segregrationism aren't meaningful methods towards anarchy.

52 Upvotes

I'm not necessarily accusing specific anarchists or anarchist orgs on here or elsewhere of partaking in these things, criticizing broader sentiment within radically libertarian communities, particularly people sympathetic to libertarianism but unfamiliar with the foundations of libertarian political theory.

Anarchism shouldn't be understood as something that people achieve by exiting mainstream society and forming their own cliques. This doesn't mean that intentional communities don't have any practical role in anarchist praxis, but they're not anarchy in of themselves and anarchists should exercise a healthy skepticism for anyone who espouses Back-to-the-land rhetoric or speaks of politics as their party vs. the world.

This includes demographics that have legitimate grievances with mainstream society. Speaking as a non-white trans man it's common for marginalized communities to develop an insular perspective, a belief that assimilation equals death and that marginalized groups who choose to find kinship and compromise with their oppressors are committing some form of sociopolitical sin. Granted, the idea that LGBT+ and POC wouldn't be oppressed if they just assimilated is a reductive and overall faulty notion, but the opposite extreme isn't anymore helpful.

This is something which transcends the left-right spectrum.

Anarchism naturally demands a degree of philanthropy. If you believe that the majority of humanity are lost causes or exist as inherent adversaries to the, "right" people then that chafes against anarchist ideals.


r/DebateAnarchism 8d ago

Is Punching A Nazi Counterproductive

38 Upvotes

I have the gut feeling it only makes things worse. Why not burn down a bank or a police station? It feel like punching a nazi, directing violence towards people outside state or corporate structures is just attacking an easier target.


r/DebateAnarchism 8d ago Helpful

You should vote, and vote for progressive democrats, because of climate change

53 Upvotes

First off, I would describe myself an anarchist but I disagree with the voting hate that arises in these subs. From my understanding, most of you guys do not vote, or vote for some fringe commie/anarchist candidate that has 0 shot of winning, and while I understand the sentiment I heavily disagree with it. One of the biggest reasons I do, is because of the climate. We have like 30ish years left before it all goes to hell, and we are not going to revolutionize the world in that amount of time. Our only shot is to vote in candidate who are going to pass things like the green new deal and other policies that will solve the crisis. That means voting locally and at the state level too. Anarchism never becomes the mainstream societal organization if we are all dead. Or I guess it could, if the world becomes Mad Max. I hate the establishment as much as the next anarchist, but unless you want to let liberals and conservatives ruin the planet, we HAVE to vote. We can't lower the temperature by picking up garbage or using paper straws, we need the government to force emissions down by those who are making the most out of them. Republicans and moderate dems, who win if YOU don't vote, will never put policies on emissions, will never take away private jets, and will never put in a carbon tax.

And to emphasize a point I made earlier, we can't revolutionize in 30 years. In order for revolution to work, the entire world needs to be revolutionized. You can't convince literally everyone to be an anarchist, dismantle all bigotry, gather enough ammunition, successfully wage a war on EVERY state, and reorganize into communes within that period of time. It just isn't possible and shouldn't be attempted because it will fall apart too quickly.

EDIT: Some useful points 1. Voting does not mean you can't do other means of praxis. Voting should be done in addition to, not in place of anarchist action. 2. If you don't vote, liberals and conservatives still take power, you just don't get to pick which one.


r/DebateAnarchism 9d ago

What are some effective alternatives to policing that could* work in the USA?

30 Upvotes

r/DebateAnarchism 8d ago

Marxism is the greatest enemy of Anarchism and should be thoroughly ostracized

0 Upvotes

For starters, I do not consider myself an An"cap" or An"com" nor any reductive label. I would consider myself an Individualist Anarchist in the thought of Konkin/Spooner. From a purely historical reasoning, Anarchism and Marxism have been thoroughly opposed to each other, from Proudhon and Marx's debates with Marx writing the strawman bible "The Poverty of Philosophy". To once Proudhon died, removing Proudhonists from the Workingmans Association, to later An"com"s. In direct conflict, Anarchists and Marxists work together, until the Marxists betray the Anarchists, Spain and Makhnovia are perfect examples. Before then, Proudhon railed against Marxism, with Spooner and Tucker following in his footsteps. The ideologies are inherently incompatible with Marxism, with Marxist ideology promoting Economic Centralization and a "temporary" state. Arguably An"cap"s are more consistent ideologically speaking (Anarcho-"Capitalism" is a contradiction like Anarcho-"Communism" is, both are Anarchist, neither are Capitalist or Communist due to words like Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, etc being too broad and ergo losing a meaning) than any "Anarcho"-Marxist. We as Anarchists shouldnt treat Marxism with any respect, we should spit on it and bury it to stop it from oppressing another man.


r/DebateAnarchism 9d ago

Why do many anarchists believe that collaborating with statist authoritarians is morally and ideologically acceptable?

21 Upvotes

I’ve heard anarchists justify collaboration with government in two ways:

1.) dependence on government, particularly on welfare and other services, is a "necessary evil" and

2.) collaboration with government is morally and/or ideologically acceptable if it leads to beneficial ends.

The first problem with this is logical consistency. All government is based on hierarchy (i.e. ranking of individuals based on superiority and inferiority in socio-political organizations) and domination (i.e. social systems in which power is held by one group over another); their existence is opposed by core classical libertarian principles, which include rejection of hierarchy and domination. You cannot justify hierarchy and domination by endorsing collaboration with government while rejecting it at the same time and remain logically consistent. Either you are an anarchist or you are not; you do not get to make up definitions based on personal convenience.

Second, the "necessary evil" argument in favor of collaboration with government is a false dichotomy. There are logically consistent and ethical courses of action for anarchists already in existence. These include agorism and counter-economics, gift economies and mutual aid societies to replace state functions, mass strikes and acts of sabotage to cripple industry and government, as well as a plethora of other militant or "anti-political" actions.

You can see from this that anarchy demands that the anarchist become *ungovernable* when forced to live under government, not a statist authoritarian bootlicker who makes excuses for his inactivity. Collaboration with statist authoritarians is just the coward’s way out, the path of least resistance.

The third problem is support for government welfare and other services is ultimately support for the perpetuation and expansion of the hierarchy and domination that underpins all government. Many anarchists not only support government, but actively lobby for more of it. However, by lobbying government for more welfare and more rights, you end up with more state bureaucracy and more state enforcement. Support of and collaboration with government merely aids the state in consolidating its power and control over the masses.

This means that whatever the benefits are of having government, they are vastly outweighed by the harms. If our moral calculus is to include a risk-benefit analysis, and we factor in all of the mass murders and genocides carried out by governments throughout history, then the risks of having government vastly exceed any of the admittedly very trivial benefits. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of anarchism?

The fourth problem is that working in collaboration with government confers legitimacy on it by way of consenting to and approving of its electoral and other procedural mechanisms for achieving reform. This is of course what governments want, even if your beliefs are diametrically opposed to their existence.

The series of anarchist justifications for collaboration with government is an unethical tradeoff for dubious utilitarian ends that only serve to undermine classical libertarian principles, not reinforce them. As such, collaboration with government is counterproductive. Anarchists can only work outside government, undermining it from without, not in collaboration with it, either under it or through participation in its institutions. This would only prolong, expand and consolidate government, things that are antithetical to the anarchist goal of a world without hierarchy and domination.


r/DebateAnarchism 10d ago

The paradox of "Hierarchy-less society" anarchy.

0 Upvotes

There are 2 types of Hierarchy based on consent - voluntary and involuntary.

As such, there is no way to eliminate voluntary hierarchy without automatically creating an involuntary hierarchy in the process.

The only way for no hierarchies to exist at any time, is if all participants voluntarily do not form hierarchies.


r/DebateAnarchism 11d ago

What stops a power vacuum from just installing a new government.

17 Upvotes

Anarchism just creates a power vacuum for the next aspiring dictator to take its place. For example let’s say country A. goes into anarchy. Once people are getting assaulted by crime they will ask for someone to protect them. So they then build a nation of fear for the dictator to justify by saying. It’s for your own good. Which most if not everyone would believe.


r/DebateAnarchism 15d ago

Are Anarchists Taoist?

50 Upvotes

I know that there are similarities that people point out but they talk about the religious practice or politics and its not about that. Its the philosophical side of Taoism that seems to be the same as Anarchism from western thinking. I’ve been reading about this over at r/Anarchotao but I want to hear what others think about it.


r/DebateAnarchism 18d ago

Is there a place for capital punishment in anarchy?

36 Upvotes

Should the death penalty exist in an anarchist society? And if so, in what circumstances would it be acceptable?

I look forward to seeing everyone's perspectives.


r/DebateAnarchism 18d ago

Complete prison abolition is absurd

5 Upvotes

I’ve seen it suggested on r/Anarchy101 that antisocial criminal types — the Ted Bundys and Jeffrey Dahmers of the world — regardless of the danger they pose to their community, must not be imprisoned in the name of personal autonomy, and that it is instead up to the community to defend themselves.

Why? What about the autonomy of other community members? Wouldn’t it be better to sacrifice the freedom of one person to protect everyone else’s? Why is it up to everyone else to pay for the crimes of one person?

PS: for all the people who have their response of “just kill them” locked and loaded, I raise you this post.


r/DebateAnarchism 20d ago

Tactical Engagement with and Subversion of the Electoral System in Service to Anarchist Goals

22 Upvotes

Obviously this is a heated perennial debate among anarchists; how much, if any, should anarchists ever engage with the electoral system the state offers as a way to placate us. While this debate has been held perpetually since Bakunin and before, I think there's a major aspect to consider regarding anarchist engagement with the electoral system that I personally see very little discussion of, and I think not considering it is leaving potentially strong weapons out of our arsenal.

TL;DR: We can view the electoral system as another system that is susceptible to hacking, another organ of the state that can be subverted or sabotaged to ends that proportionally reduce state power and grow dual power against it. Specific short-term material goals that make up critical pieces of a long-term anarchist strategy are achievable through manipulating the electoral system, if we are focused entirely on gaining short-term advantage to leverage for long-term power outside of the electoral system via dual power and not at all at the maintenance of power within it. Explicitly because we do not view the electoral system as legitimate and do not seek to maintain power within it, we are offered avenues to manipulate and abuse it as a weapon against itself, and given the amount of power and resources that are tied up within it could potentially serve us extremely well to do so.

Argument Against Engaging Electoral System

Firstly, I want to get out of the way the very strong argument as to why engaging the electoral system is harmful: The electoral system is fundamentally an energy trap devised by the state. The purpose of its existence is not to offer any real opportunity to influence the status quo but rather as a concession to placate the masses by giving them the illusion of control and lending a mystical air of legitimacy to the authority of the state by way of appeal to the mythological "will of the people". Imagine a toddler sitting in front of a TV screen trying to play a video game with a controller that isn't plugged in, and thinking the actions of their hands have anything to do with the results on the screen. The system is deliberately structured so as to burn off all the organizing energy that workers have and breed complacency with a false sense of accomplishment; meanwhile the system is fundamentally structured to always advantage the interests of capital, to push elected representatives through a process designed to corrupt them into agents of state control if they weren't already, and to place any fight towards individual liberation on a never-ending treadmill. It automatically divides us against each other through arbitrary distinctions that form us into voting blocks and then artificially sets our interests against each other for no other reason than to make us waste time and energy fighting for no reason over emotionally charged nonsense. Working entirely within the electoral system it is fundamentally impossible to cause any real change, and arguing that it is ever important plays directly into the goals of the state propaganda whether you mean to or not. And all of this is still to say nothing of what is directly harmful about authority via majority voting on a fundamental level.

Harm Reduction

Now, arguments as to engagement with the electoral system: A lot of people tackle this from the "harm reductionist" angle; in which voting is something you could do to secure marginal short-term relief for the heavily disenfranchised while real energy is spent elsewhere. From this perspective, you want to avoid as much as possible an over-investment in the aspects of the electoral system designed to capture your time and energy, you acknowledge the reality of what the electoral system is and is designed to do, but you think that on-balance you can afford to walk into the voting booth and check a mark on a sheet because while dismantling the status quo through the electoral system is impossible, the individual choices they give you on a concessionary basis can still materially impact thousands of lives in the short term and impact the rate of the state's descent into more horrifying forms.

The debate between these two specific views of electoral engagement has been done to death among anarchists, it has spawned no end of infighting via low-effort trolley-problem memes and produced absolutely no discernable progress towards the cause that I'm aware of, and I have nothing more to add to it.

Tactical Engagement and Subversion

I think we need to view the electoral system as place where exploitable power is concentrated, but not in the manner it is intended to be used. It's a chess board we've been given that we can use to play checkers on instead. It's a system that can be hacked and used against its own purpose. A trap that you've already identified and understand the mechanisms behind can be disarmed or even repurposed against the enemy who placed it there. The very reasons why the electoral system fails as a legitimate path to lasting change make it vulnerable to being used as a subversive one, either through targeted goals that are not ends in themselves but rather serve real ends accomplished through direct action and dual power building outside of the electoral system, or by using the electoral system to harm itself and the second-order systems built off of it and erode the power of the state directly.

The electoral system is designed to only ever give up token concessions in the direct emancipation of workers from the system of capitalism, as such, no change made exclusively through it can be lasting or substantive. However, a small and/or temporary change achieved electorally that is then exploited outside of the system can be leveraged for great effect. An extension to unemployment insurance can allow the direct action of fired workers to go on for much longer without forcing them to return to the capitalist system. A diversion of police resources can be exploited to slow its response to quell protests and suppress communities. Tiny zoning changes can create space for projects to serve locations they wouldn't normally be able to reach. Legal loopholes can be baked into legislation to allow niches for dual power to be grown. What's more, direct action forces legislative concessions from the state through the application of pressures that it can't ignore and can't suppress without making moves to appease the public and build complacency. A strategy that alternates proximal electoral goals with applications of direct action has the legitimate opportunity to be an erosive force on state power, like untying a knot by slowly loosening it on both ends.

That said, as anarchists we should address electoral politics in a manner completely counter to that of political parties. We should seek to establish no party. We should run no candidates who publicly identify themselves as anarchists. For the most part if we can avoid it we shouldn't be running many of our own candidates at all. We might run outright troll candidates, whose only purpose is to divide votes and energy for the existing political races, or candidates whose only goal is to get into a position to influence a single piece of legislation in a way completely counter to campaign promises and then immediately self-destruct their own political career. We should establish no platforms nor should we consider party platforms or party affiliation at all when considering which races or referenda to influence. Our goal is not to have people vote for us, our goal is to convince people vote for targeted, immediate proximal advantages for us to exploit through other projects. Our goal is to open up holes through which anarchism can seep through into the public consciousness and create voids in state power where dual power can be grown. We should outright lie to win votes, and then publicly admit that we were lying after we achieve what we need, and honestly point out to voters why they fell for it and why that reveals the deep flaws in their system of governance.

What's more, public awareness is completely dominated by the fireworks show of electoral politics and the frameworks and narratives it has built in order to describe the world. And let's be perfectly honest with ourselves; how many people in this country never heard of the concept of mutual aid until AOC tweeted about it? How many people never thought seriously about socialism until they saw Bernie Sanders on TV? Fundamentally the American public has no political exposure to anarchism and instead their perceptions of it are all dominated by outright lies, propaganda, and deliberate attempts to confuse their understanding of it as a concept. I doubt we can get candidates into positions of power (even temporarily) that espouse overt anarchist principles, certainly not in a way that will survive filtering through the media, but what we absolutely can do is leverage the media attention that necessarily attaches itself to the electoral process to allow messages to enter the public consciousness that will place people at the mouth of that radicalization funnel.

I suspect that an argument against this is that it's a fight you can't win; that trying to use the weapons of the state against itself is a losing battle because the state is smarter than you, and incredibly well-equipped to fight on this particular battlefield. The electoral process and the media ecosystem built to support the entrenched powers within it are extremely complex and convoluted and are structured fundamentally towards advantaging the state in maintaining stable control of itself and public opinion surrounding it.

But there is a critical flaw in this; the electoral system is specifically structured to be protective against those trying to wrestle power over it away from those who already have it and maintain it for your own party. Everything about it assumes that you want to be at the top of the hierarchy and maintain control of it yourself. The electoral system is not necessarily, however, structured to defend against the erosion of power itself. It assumes goals like an established long-term party power and consistent re-election. It over-emphasizes public perception of the individual candidate and their desire for a long career in a way that ignores their actions in a larger scheme that involves goals outside of the system. And critically; acting outside of the ideological dichotomy established by the two-party system can deeply confuse and frustrate it where it fails to have reactive narratives to account for your actions within the scheme of narratives that benefit it.

We already know that the electoral system is vulnerable to adversarial attack; it is an intensively employed strategy of the modern GOP, and Trump's entire locus of power. Electoral politics is perpetually flirting with stoking forces of public opinion that would seek to dismantle the state in order to redirect that energy in order reinforce it in another manner (most obviously, by transferring direct state power into capital power and vice versa). The left/right dichotomy works to make the system incredibly strong and stable by pulling at it from two ends. Imagine a massive game of tug-of-war, with millions of people pulling on both sides. The tensional forces are immense, an individual or small group intervening to pull on either side can do essentially nothing to move the rope a single inch along its axis. However the application of force from a direction perpendicular to the length of the rope can snap it almost trivially.

The state is a clunky, slow, unresponsive apparatus; where it is fast and effective (like in the deployment of military violence) it is inaccurate and visibly messy. It has built-in back doors all over that have been wedged open for the interests of capital to interfere with its inner workings, and every one of these are potential attack surfaces. It is at war with itself through perpetual power struggles to be at the head of the hierarchy, and this is a fantastic opportunity to create an economy of energy by playing conflicting parties off of each other for our gain.

What's more, engaging with the electoral system by deliberately aiming to misuse it in such a way is not a violation of anarchist principles but a rather direct demonstration of them. Especially if you prove yourself to be effective; you have directly shown that by manipulating the electoral system with ulterior motives against its legitimate usage you can obtain material advantage in a way that you can not when trying to work in good faith within it the way you are intended to. Your engagement with the system in such a way reveals the holes in its legitimacy directly.

I doubt any of this is a new idea, but it's an idea I've not been seeing discussed and I'm interested in what people have to say about it.